Thursday, March 22, 2012

In The Kitchen: Coconut Curry Stir Fry and Fruit Salad

Not to be stereo-typical (but I will be), I have really neglected making stir fry despite my Asian background. In terms of quick and easy to make meals, stir fry is a great go to option. Yet, I've NEVER made stir fry in my life  until yesterday. The inspiration behind giving it a try came from my Vegas trip when I had incredible stir fry at the food court inside of the MGM. It was crazy delicious and best of all, extremely healthy with all fresh vegetables, lean beef, and coconut curry sauce. I have also been looking to burn through my Philly Cow Share beef so this was a great opportunity to do so.
Before I get into the recipe, there are a few nuances I learned about making stir fry properly. Here are some tips and mistakes I made:
  • Stir fry is best made in a wok for even heat distribution
  • All the vegetables/meats should be pre-cut ahead of time. I made the mistake of cutting as I was cooking and a few things burned the first time around because I couldn't attend to "stirring" the stir fry
  • The veggies/meats should be cut into bite size pieces. It makes it a lot easier to eat and also easier to stir in the wok to ensure even cooking
  • Use fat/oil that is heat resistant. The wok is supposed to cook over Med-High heat so you don't want to use fat/oil that burns easily and oxidizes which is un-healthy for you. Suggestions are tallow, coconut oil, or macadamia oil (which is what I used)
  • The meat should be cooked first and then removed and put back in later to avoid over-cooking. Make sure the meat is drained before putting back into the wok
  • Onions/Garlic/Ginger is cooked first and then the vegetables are immediately added. The timing of this is crucial. I badly burned the first batch of garlic because I was too busy cutting up the vegetables
  • The vegetables are then added in order of "toughness" of the texture. For example, I cooked the Asparagus first, then added the broccoli, then the string beans, then the red/green peppers
  • Any fresh herbs go in last
  • The sauce is then added along with the meat
Got it? Great, on to the recipe, which is ridiculously easy.

Coconut Curry Stir Fry

  • 1lb of either thinly cut chicken or steak. You can even splurge and use a 1/2 lb of both (I used the chipped beef package from my Philly Cow Share order)
  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • 1.5 tsp of curry powder
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • Your favorite vegetables cut into bite size pieces (For me, I used asparagus, green string beans, broccoli, green and red peppers and chives) Spinach is also great to add

    ** It is easy to over do it with too many vegetables which will take away from the taste of the coconut curry sauce. Looking back on it, I made this mistake. I would say 1:2 meat to vegetable ratio so 1lb of meat, use 2 lbs of vegetables
Prepare the sauce by mixing together the coconut milk, curry powder and grated ginger in a separate sauce pan on low heat. Set aside. Stir-fry the meat in a hot wok. Remove the meat from the wok, drain and set aside. Reheat the wok and stir-fry the onion with more cooking fat/oil for about 2 minutes. Add the PRE-CUT vegetables in the order mentioned above and stir-fry another 3 minutes. Make sure you continually stir everything, it is called Stir Fry for a reason. Return the meat to the wok, add the coconut curry sauce and the spinach (if applicable) and stir/cook until the spinach is just wilted and the whole preparation is hot.

For dessert, I had a cantaloupe sitting around that I bought onsale at Giant. I went to go cut it and then realized I had no idea how to cut a cantaloupe because I've never done it before. I probably could have hacked away at it but realized I probably would be wasting too much. I found this YouTube video below which shows a pretty good method of efficiently cutting a cantaloupe.

The instructions were great and reinforced that I also picked out a "quality" melon. (SCORE!) I also did a pretty decent job of cutting up the cantaloupe and not wasting much.

I then combined the cantaloupe with some strawberries and blue berries to make a nice fruit salad to enjoy.

Good healthy, meal overall with minimum effort. Got to love that.

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